Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't Miss This!

Don't miss the October Fun For Kids Super-Giveaway with 8 great prizes. Head on over to http://veaterfam.blogspot.com/2010/10/october-fun-for-kids-super-giveaway.html to enter, and HURRY because it closes on Nov. 1st! The prizes include a gift certificate to Little One Books (that's what I wanna win!), Trivial Pursuit steal card game, a gift certificate to Piggy Paint, a new kids' CD from the Flannery Brothers, a Munchie Mug, and a pair of Ski Banz from Baby Banz! Good luck! The Veater Family Adventures blog has some other great super-giveaways, too, so check it out!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Few Great Contests at Reviewed By Mom


For itty-bitty little ones, one thing I love is books! (OK, so I love kids' books for pretty much any age!) But when your little ones are really little, they have a tendency to destroy books! So that's why board books and soft cloth books are so great! Eebee Books is an interactive book series with some adorable baby/toddler books, including a soft cloth peek-a-boo book (http://eebee.com/products/books_peekaboo.html). To enter for the chance of winning 5 Eebee Books, go to http://reviewedbymom.blogspot.com/2010/10/eebee-books-review-giveaway.html. Ends October 31st.


Now, I just finished blogging about my passion for wordless books ... Well, guess what, all of the wordless books I mentioned can be purchased online at the wonderful online bookstore http://www.littleonebooks.com/. But not just wordless books can be purchased there! This phenomenal store and online resource sells only the finest books, video, and music for children (ages 1-5 years), all personally reviewed by the owners. You could win a $25 gift certificate to Little One Books by entering here:http://reviewedbymom.blogspot.com/2010/10/little-one-booksreview-giveaway.html. Ends November 2nd.
Yet a third great contest is to win a copy of the cute children's book called When The Snow Comes by Jonathan Allen. It tells the story of a little yak waiting to see his first snow, appropriate for ages 3 and up. To enter go here: http://reviewedbymom.blogspot.com/2010/10/when-snow-comes-by-jonathan-allenreview.html. Ends November 3rd.
You can also find wonderful children's books, toys and other great eco-chic gear for moms, babies, and kids at EcoMom. To see their book selection, go here: http://store.ecomom.com/Childrens-Books-s/136.htm. And to enter to win a $15 gift certificate to EcoMom, head on over here: http://reviewedbymom.blogspot.com/2010/10/smartypants-gummy-vitamins-ecomom.html. Ends November 2nd.
Don't miss these 4 fantastic contests at http://reviewedbymom.blogspot.com/! Good luck!

In Praise of Wordless Books


This year's Caldecott Medal winner -- The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney -- has only seven words, all sound effects. The 2007 Caldecott winner -- Flotsam by David Wiesner -- is also a wordless book. This is perhaps not as surprising as it initially seems when it is recalled that the Caldecott Medal recognizes "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children". Still, children's books are usually assumed to have some words, some sort of written story or text, even if it is short. If you look at customer reviews for The Lion & the Mouse or other wordless books on Amazon, you will invariably find a few disgruntled customers who are unhappy at having got a book that is "just pictures".
But wordless books are not just books without words or mere pictures. They tell a story through pictures. While a story told in pictures may invariably be more open to interpretation than a story told with words and pictures, a story can be found in the pictures ... and this story can be related orally.
And this is where I come to write in praise of wordless books. Wordless books give both children and adults a chance to experience and participate in storytelling in a different way and be challenged and affected by story in ways that may stretch their verbal, interpretive, and narrative skills. And a lot of the impact of wordless children's books comes from the fact that they simply are in the minority. The fact is that most kids' books do have a lot more than 7 words. Usually, the story is written down, and we don't have to look for it in the same way we do when it's "written" in the pictures.
For adults in a lot of sectors of American society, we're not particularly challenged by the task of reading a children's storybook aloud. We're used to reading aloud, have done it since we were kids, and we pretty much know the routine. We may hone our skills a bit, learn to add more dramatic flourishes to our rendition, but we pretty much know what we're doing. But recent brain research has shown that it is by constantly developing new skills that we stay mentally sharp (see for example, The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge). While we all know famously talented storytellers, oral storytelling without a text is challenging and a little bit scary for many of us. Yet, that's just why it's so important -- we stretch, expand, and ultimately change our brains by doing so. Same thing with kids. And one way to tell a story, or to collaborate in telling a story, is to use a wordless book as a jumping off point. And since many of these books are illustrated by incredibly talented artists, we get the wonderful chance of enjoying their art in reading these books.
So don't be scared, don't be deterred. Think about adding some wordless books to your home library. They truly can be enjoyed by all ages! Other wordless books that have received very positive reviews in recent years include:
The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
Wave by Suzy Lee
And look for other books by David Wiesner and Jerry Pinkney.
And keep in mind that this list is in no way comprehensive. Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to recommend another great wordless book. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If you or your kids speak French, or you want to expose your kids to the French language ...


If you or your kids speak French, or you want to expose your kids to the French language ... and you happen to be reading my blog tonight, then you won't want to miss this contest for a lovely illustrated children's book in French.
Il ├ętait une fois is sort of like the equivalent of once upon a time in English, so I imagine this story has the feel of a fairytale.
To learn more about the book and/or enter the contest, hop over to http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2010/09/giveaway-il-etait-une-fois-une-maison.html. Hurry -- you must enter by 11:59 P.M. PST! Contest open internationally.
One of the educational experiences I value most is the time I spent studying in France as an exchange student. I want to get my kids interested in learning foreign languages as early as possible, and I hope they will also have the chance to study overseas and get immersed in the study of a foreign language. This book would be a start!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Don't Forget To Read "The Snowy Day" Today!

Don't forget about READ FOR THE RECORD today (see yesterday's post for further details)! If you don't have a copy of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, you can read it to your child(ren) with the online version and then document that you did! What do you think of the book!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reading to Kids - Cont'd.

Did you know that October 7th (that's tomorrow!) is Read for the Record Event? This exciting campaign brings children and adults together to read the same book, on the same day, in homes and communities all over the world! This is the first time I have heard about this event, but last year, more than two million children read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

And this year ... [drumroll] ... children and their parents and teachers are being asked to read Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day together. I am thrilled by this choice of classic children's story, as it is a book I loved when I was a kid!

If you are interested in this event and would like a chance to win your own copy of The Snowy Day (together with a "Peter" doll), then you should head on over to
http://www.afrugalfriend.net/2010/09/oct-7th-read-for-the-record-event-wthe-snowy-day-childrens-book-giveaway-5-winners. You can also sign up to Pledge to read The Snowy Day book to a child on Oct 7th. Contest deadline is midnight (central time) on Thursday, October 7th. Have fun reading The Snowy Day tomorrow (and, hopefully, for many days to come)!

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